South Carolina vs. LSU
Date: Saturday, February 18th
Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center - Baton Rouge, LA
The Gamecocks are looking to bounce back from their loss against Vanderbilt by walking into Baton Rouge and taking down the LSU Tigers. The Tigers currently sit at the bottom of the conference at a putrid 1-12, and are currently ranked 133rd in KenPom’s latest advanced metric rankings.
Senior Murray State transfer KJ Williams is the heart and soul of this Tigers squad. Williams is averaging 16.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game, both being team highs. Williams is also a defensive mastermind, averaging team highs of 1.3 steals and 1 block per game. Standing at 6’10,” Williams is a defensive anchor for the tigers and brings an intimidation factor to the court.
Illinois transfer Adam Miller is very dangerous if he is able to get hot. Miller is averaging a solid 11.7 points per game on 33.8% shooting from the field. While Miller does put up high- scoring numbers, he is quite inefficient and can tend to get out of control at times. This will be key for the Gamecocks today, as forcing Miller to take bad shots could lead to a total team collapse for the Tigers.
There’s no better time to put it all together for South Carolina than against a lackluster LSU squad who can’t seem to put it together either. The Gamecocks have had a stretch of mental mistakes that have cost them games such as lousy turnovers and simply not knowing what to do when a final play is drawn up. They are going to have to learn to keep their composure under pressure if they want to win this game.
GG Jackson’s availability is going to play a huge factor in this game. Will he start? Will he come off the bench? Will he play at all? Who knows. The only thing that matters is that he doesn’t cost the team with his attitude. Jackson has been openly frustrated about his situation at South Carolina, and it has translated to the court. Jackson has had an insane 13 total turnovers over his last five games, and the cause of it seems to be him just not caring at all. If Jackson continues this, the Gamecocks will be better off with him on the bench.
With GG Jackson being a huge question mark, it’s gonna be left up to guys like Hayden Brown and Meechie Johnson Jr. to take over the scoring role. Brown has done this well recently, averaging 13.2 points per game over his last five games and leading the Gamecocks in scoring in two of those games. Johnson has left much to be desired, playing very inconsistent with 20 points in one game, and then 7 in another. Both Johnson and Brown are going to have to make their presence felt if the Gamecocks wish to walk out of Baton Rouge with a win.
KenPom is giving South Carolina a 22% chance to take down the LSU Tigers with a score prediction of South Carolina 62, LSU 70
My Prediction: South Carolina 60, LSU 67